Monday, March 11, 2013

The Great Pacific What?

I know this is going to sound more like an Earth Day post but to me some things should be remembered more than one day out of the year.

Did you know  out in the Pacific Ocean there is a huge area, by some accounts twice the size of Texas, of floating garbage? It consists of plastic bottles, bags, toys, fishing lines and nets, and more. There is also a smaller one in the Atlantic Ocean. The plastic from these items break down into tiny pieces; some of which make their way to shore mixing with that same sand you like to wiggle your toes in.
Check out Charles Moore,  first to discover The Great Pacific Garbage Patch, talking about how wide spread this pollution is and what it consists of.

Sea turtles think plastic bags are jellyfish and ingest them. This can cause a blockage in their digestive system, resulting in death. Sea birds, such as the albatross,also eat the floating garbage. This junk cannot pass through their system and makes the bird think its belly is full and won’t eat. Eventually the bird will 
die of starvation.

If you’re not concerned about what we dump into our oceans consider this: there has been enough mercury leaked into the ocean that the FDA advises children, pregnant women or women who might become pregnant not to eat shark, king mackerel, swordfish and tilefish. They should limit their intake of albacore tuna or tuna steaks to six ounces a week, smaller amounts for children.

And if you're not concerned about that, consider the financial burdens.  California spends approximately $52.2 million per year trying to keep it's beaches clean.  That's  just one state.  Think of how many states have a coastline.  Hell it's not just the oceans but the waterways that are polluted with this same garbage and how many streams, lakes, and rivers does America have?   Got the picture?

So what can you do?  Well besides becoming informed and passing the word, reduce the amount of plastic bottles and bags you use by bringing reusable bags with you and by using metal water bottles.  Recycle, though it doesn't take of everything every little bit helps.  Don't litter.  Join groups that clean up beaches and streams.

Remember it's our only home.

Some other sites:
The New York Times -

Mother Nature Network -

The Natural Resources Defense Council -

Or just google it. : )


  1. We're big in our house on reusing what we can - the engineer hubby is constantly fixing what can be fixed so we don't have to toss it and replace it with more garbage- or re-purposing things if he can.
    It's really a sin when you think about how we treat our planet and all the waste that goes on.
    Those water bottles and plastic bags are my biggest no-no's in our house. I always get paper at the grocery store if I need more than the reusable burlap bags I bring on my own. We all have to do our part!

  2. Thank you for this reminder, Donna. I've heard about this too. I read a statement from a scientist a while back who said that the ocean was so vast trash dumps like this were really of no consequence, which just made me boil. We are such an irresponsible species and we need to do more.

    Jeff just got back from Seattle and told me that there they do not use disposable grocery/purchase bags anywhere. All bags are your own reusable kind. It's the law. We need to do more like that, and cut down on packaging and waste. We live in limited space, and we have to share that space with other species that help keep us alive. Yeah, even the albatross, indirectly.

  3. I switched over to reusable water bottles (instead of the disposable plastic ones) many years ago, and bought my own shopping bags (I love the insulated ones from Whole Foods for frozen/refrigerated items)about three years ago. I also decline plastic bags at department stores, and use my own tote bags. (You should see the strange looks I get from the cashiers at Macy's.) It may not make a big difference, but I do what I can.

    Thanks for the reminders.